These are the eleven states in the United States that receive the lowest annual rain totals on average each year. Low rain totals means the sun usually shines a great deal in these states so if you like sun these are the best weather states in the United States for you. All these states are dry for basically the same reason. The weather patterns or systems effecting these states on a yearly basis are heavily influenced by high mountain ranges.
Listed here are the driest states in the United States along with the cities and places that receive the least amount of yearly rain in each state plus the city that has the fewest rainy days per state.
1) Nevada – 9.54″
With the Great Basin Desert in the north and the Mojave Desert in the south the Silver State of Nevada receives limited amounts of yearly rain and ranks first as the state that receives the least amount of annual rainfall at 9.54 inches. The driest city in Nevada is Las Vegas which gets an annual average of 4.49 inches of rain and Las Vegas see just 26 days or rain per year on average. The driest site in Nevada is Indian Springs in the northwest which gets just 2.91 inches of rain per year.
2) Utah – 12.26″
Nevada’s neighbor to the east Utah is second on the list with 12.26 inches of yearly rain. The Beehive State is dominated by the same basic weather patterns as Nevada as the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Mountain Ranges in California empty most weather systems of moisture before they move east. Salt Lake City is the capital of Utah and receives 16.50 inches of yearly rain which falls over 91 days a year on average. The driest place in Utah is Wendover in the northwest which gets just 4.77 inches of yearly rain.
3) Wyoming – 12.97″
The Cowboy State ranks 3rd with an annual average rainfall of 12.97 inches. The driest city in Wyoming is Casper at 13.03 inches of rain while the city with the fewest number of rainy days is Lander at 72. The driest place in Wyoming is centrally located Lysite at 5.11 inches.
4) Arizona – 13.61″
If you live or have traveled to the Grand Canyon State you knew it was going to make this list. The driest city and place in Arizona is Yuma at a measly 3.01 inches of annual rain and Yuma also has the fewest days of rain in the state at just 17. Is it any surprise that Yuma is the Sunniest City in not just the United States but the entire world?
5) New Mexico – 14.63″
The Land of Enchantment State ranks 5th with an average of 14.63 inches of annual rain. The driest city in New Mexico is Albuquerque at 9.47 inches while the city with the least number of rainy days is Roswell at 56. Guess aliens don’t like rain or maybe they need sunshine for solar energy to power their spaceships. The driest place in New Mexico is Newcomb in the southwest at 5.96 inches.
6) Montana – 15.37″
The Treasure State ranks 6th with annual average rain of 15.37 inches. The driest city in Montana is Glasgow which averages 11.23 inches of yearly rain while Havre ties Glasgow with the fewest number of rainy days at 90 per year. The driest place in Montana is Belfry in the south at 6.85 inches. They must have bats there right?
7) Colorado – 15.97″
The Rocky Mountain State ranks 7th with annual average rain of 15.97 inches. The driest city in Colorado is Alamosa with average annual rain of 7.25 inches and its also the place with the least amount of rainy days at 68. The driest place in Colorado is Center which is actually in south-central Colorado.
8) North Dakota – 17.82″
The Peace Garden State ranks 8th with annual average rainfall totals of 17.82 inches. The driest city in North Dakota is Williston the county seat of Williams County and its also the leader in fewest days of rain at 93 per year. The driest place in North Dakota is Sherwood in the north at 13.13 inches.
9) Idaho – 18.96″
The Gem State ranks 9th at 18.96 inches of yearly average rain. The driest city in Idaho is its capital city of Boise with average annual rain of 12.19 inches and Boise is also the city with the least amount of rainy days at 90 per year on average. The driest place in Idaho is Grand View in the southwest at 7.11 inches.
10) South Dakota – 20.14″
The Mount Rushmore State ranks 10th with annual average rainfall of 20.14 inches. Do you know the four presidents whose heads have been sculpted into Mount Rushmore and the Indian who is being carved into Thunderhead Mountain which will be the largest sculpture in the world if it’s ever finished? The driest city in South Dakota is Rapid City with an annual average rainfall total of 16.64 inches while the city with least number of rainy days is Aberdeen at 87. The driest place in South Dakota is the geographic center of the United States Belle Fourche in the west part of the state at 13.88 inches of yearly rain. The answer to the trivia question is presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt while the Indian is Crazy Horse.
11) California – 22.20″
The Golden State ranks 11th at 22.20 inches of annual rain and is included here because it is the most populous state in the country and 3rd largest by size. The driest largest city in California is Bakersfield with annual average rainfall of 6.49 inches. The city with the least rainy days is Santa Barbara at 31 per year. The driest place in California is Cow Creek in Death Valley at a minuscule 1.60 inches.
The western states rule this list as all of the states lie west of the Mississippi River. The dominant geographical feature for these states is the mountain ranges that block many Pacific Ocean weather systems and resulting rain from reaching them. Weather systems tend to get stuck in mountains and dump their moisture there so much of the rain does not reach many parts of these states. If you dislike rain and love dryness and sunny days than these are the best weather states in the United States for you.
For more please see The Worst Weather States in the United States and The Best Weather Cities in the United States.